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Historic Agreement between Gabon and Norway Seeking to Ensure it Stays that Way

A historic agreement between Gabon and Norway is seeking to ensure it stays that way

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Gabon, which is covered nearly entirely by rainforest, is one of few places on Earth where a primary tropical rainforest extends all the way to the beach. VOA

Gabon is one of the greenest countries in the world, with 88 percent of its land covered by forest. A historic agreement between Gabon and Norway is seeking to ensure it stays that way.

Through the U.N.-backed Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), Norway will pay Gabon up to $150 million over 10 years in exchange for Gabon reducing its carbon emissions and to give value to the forests’ role in absorbing carbon dioxide.

In an interview with Voice of America, Lee White, Gabon’s Minister of Forests, said the agreement is groundbreaking because it is making it nearly as valuable for countries to preserve forests as to chop them down. “In all of the deals we’ve seen over the years, forest carbon has been worth $5 a ton. And in this one, subject to meeting best practice, they’ve gone to $10. So overnight we doubled the price of forest carbon. It gives a lot of hope to all the other forest nations,” he said.

In a statement, CAFI said the deal will allow Gabon to achieve its goal of preserving 98 percent of its existing rainforest for the future. Across Central Africa, forests store as much as 70 billion tons of carbon which is equal to 5 to 10 years of global greenhouse gas emissions, CAFI said. The African forest is the second-largest rainforest in the world, sometimes called “Earth’s second lung”

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Gabon is one of the greenest countries in the world, with 88 percent of its land covered by forest. Pixabay

White said the agreement is part of a larger effort by Gabon to preserve its forests. Ten years ago, the country made headlines by announcing an end to raw timber exports. Although logging continues for processed wood products and domestic use, it is done in a sustainable way, White said.

“We’ve doubled the number of forestry jobs and we’re opening new processing plants pretty much every month. And so that measure is starting to pay off. And what we’re finding is that we can make more money and create more jobs by exploiting less,” he said.

He added that this is a strong reversal of centuries of exploitation of natural resources on the African continent by Europeans.

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“If you look at the history of the continent it’s been about ripping out cheap natural resources and sending it to other parts of the world to develop,” White said. “So Africa fueled the Industrial Revolution. Africa has fueled part of China’s rise and in economic terms. And so the first component of it is to make the use of our natural resources indigenous to transform things locally.” (VOA)

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G20 Nations Unable To Meet Paris Agreement On Climate Action

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions

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Ministers and delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

G20 nations are collectively not on track to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, but they have huge opportunities to undertake rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, a new UN research has said.

An advance chapter of the 2019 Emissions Gap Report, released on Saturday ahead of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit slated to open on Monday, has said that the G20 members, which account for around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, were not yet taking on transformative climate commitments at the necessary breadth and scale.

The report showed that around half of the G20 nations’ GHG emissions trajectories fall short of achieving their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Taken as a whole, the current NDCs are nowhere near enough to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius or below two degrees temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

This means that the world is still on the path to a catastrophic temperature rise of well over three degrees this century.

However, the advance chapter points to key areas where G20 nations can rapidly step up action when they submit their next round of NDCs in 2020.

G20 Summit, climate action, Paris, agreement, climate
Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change, turning out by the hundreds of thousands to insist. Pixabay

“We can only avoid planet-altering climate change with the full commitment of G20 nations to a zero-carbon future. So far, they haven’t done enough” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“But the good news is that every G20 nation has an array of nationally appropriate actions available to them to slash their emissions. Combined with strong political and societal support for climate action, there has never been a better opportunity for policymakers to take these actions.”

The full Emissions Gap Report, due for release in late November, will contain a detailed G20 update.

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The 2018 report said the G20 would need to cut an extra 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2030 to meet their unconditional NDCs.

For conditional NDCs, the number is 3.5 gigatonnes.

According to the report, nations must at least triple the level of ambition of their current NDCs to have a chance of keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.

To keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, they must increase their ambitions five-fold. (IANS)